RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A seven-person crew from the Raleigh area will help bring back power to the Outer Banks, following a major outage Thursday.
The team has mobilized 12 Caterpillar (CAT) generators, three from the Triangle headquarters, and spread them out in Rodanthe, Ocracoke, and Hatteras islands to bring utility level voltage back. In addition, several transformers have also been delivered to the area.
The generators alone will cost from $500,000 to $1 million each to use, and that costly equipment should be enough to power 500 to 600 homes, depending on the size of the house.
“They have inside them — there’s control switch gear in here that allows this machine to parallel with other machines of similar size and capacity and voltage,” CAT’s Steve Leese explained when talking about the XQ2000 and XQ1000 rentals used on the islands.
Leese, an electrical engineer, has worked at CAT’s Raleigh headquarters since 1998.
He believes the 12 generators, sending out 21 million watts, are the best option for utility companies working to correct the issue.
According to PCL Construction, a crew damaged a utility feeder underneath Bonner Bridge and it caused the outage.
Leese notes it’s not the first time the line has been, or has experienced, a problem. His crews dealt with a similar issue to the utility feeder during Hurricane Matthew.
“It’s just a kind of caustic environment for the equipment out there in the salt and sea spray,” he detailed. “It just needs maintenance from time to time. I believe they’ll have to replace that feeder line under there.”
In the meantime, immediately restoring power is the top priority while a state of emergency remains in place.
Asked how long he believes the repairs could take, Leese answered, “To get the equipment operational, it could probably take a couple of days.”
This means it could take up to a week if not more for power to be fully restored to the Outer Banks.